Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SFran Bay Area, CA
some more suggestions but want a 2nd opinion on...
1) Matthew Christian in his book on aquarium desing published by Barrons talks of using polymer clay and polystyrene (is that styrofoam?) as OK decorations in a tank. Certainly if you do not heat your substrate, perhaps these could be used to create the retaining wall or the mound foundation much like the use of rocks. Can they be used if you do heat your substrate? Anyone have any experience and/or an opinion on using these? Is floral styrofoam (used to hold stems in place much like a "frog") safe to use? I could see the also allowing one to easily embed smaller flat rocks to help keep the eco-complete from settling too flat.
2) I've found 2 citations of shaping wire mesh and covering it with cork or other wood scraps. Anyone have any experience and/or an opinion on using wire mesh? And, what kind did you use? I could see using wire mesh for light weight, and for steep gradations.
3) I've found several references to using fiberglass strips, acrylic strips, or even cut glass strips set up in the verticle. Again, anyone have any experience and/or an opinion on using these? Wood, rocks, etc can be glued (vis silicone) to hide the ckear wall, however, one source says their transparentcy and dark substrate means they are not very visible even when they are exposed. Anyone have any experience? ...or advice?
4) My local Home Depot has a flexible, brown plastic and even some flexible 3/16 inch wood gardern edging that could be cut to form strips for hill and valley/terracing hidden "retainer walls." Has anyone ever used edging? The plastic kind seems to be some kind of recycled plastic, like the park bench boards. Up front I am concerned how the plastic may affect the eggs of the fish (NOTE: Plastics are being reported as generally affecting the viability of the eggs of Gulf Coast crocodiles, genetics of human embryoes, etc.) and the fish themselves. Anyone have any experience? ...or advice?
5) Finally, I read in an article that Amano uses cardboard strips to vertically separate his substrates when he is layering, but removes the cardboard just before or when he fills the tank. What would happen if one were to leave the the cardboard in the tank as a hidden retaining wall and allow it to degrade over time? Anyone ever tried this? ...Any advice?